Harding County School District 31-1

Harding County Schools

Harding County PTO

Harding County Booster Club

Email: hardingcountyboosterclub@gmail.com


HCHS Graduation Ceremonies Planned

The HCHS Graduating Class of 2020 will have two opportunities to celebrate their graduation.  Due to continued CDC and state guidelines on large gatherings, the district had to get creative in coming up with a solution to honor the seniors.  “From the moment school was closed due to COVID 19, we have been trying to come up with an acceptable and special way to make sure the seniors get to experience their special day”, explained Superintendent Josh Page.  “We all know how important Graduation and everything Graduation Day means to the seniors, their parents, their families, and the community so we did our best to make sure that happened.  After listening to the seniors and their families, it became apparent that we needed to do something small for the seniors and their immediate family on their scheduled Graduation date of May 16 as well as choose another date later in the summer where we could have a traditional graduation where everyone in the community will be invited”, added Mr. Page.

Below are the dates and schedule of events.

 Saturday, May 16 at 2:20

*Each senior and their family will decorate a vehicle or flatbed.  The seniors will wear their cap and gown in a parade around town while the community comes out of their houses to recognize the seniors.  Residents of Harding County and any other out-of-towners are welcome to park in the old gym parking lot as well as the football field and rodeo arena parking lot to recognize the seniors.

 *The parade will start at the school where each senior will receive their diploma from Mr. Page-Superintendent, Mr. Messmer-Principal, and Mr. Glines-President of School Board.  This will only be for the senior and their immediate family, but the ceremony will be broadcast on FacebookLive as well as being covered by the Nations Center News with pictures of each student receiving their diploma.

 Sunday, June 28 at 2:20 (tentative and subject to change)

*Traditional graduation in the new gym or football field with the entire community invited. 

*Baccalaureate will also take place on this date at 11:00 in the gym.

*Please be aware that this date and ceremony is under the assumption the CDC, state and local guidelines will allow schools to have gatherings of this size. 

*The school district will send out further information regarding the traditional graduation when it gets closer.

End of Year Checkout Return

Dear Parents and Students,

I again want to thank all of you for your hard work over the past couple of months as we all came together to make the most out of distant learning.  For the most part, last week was the last week of new material.  This week, May 11-14, will be used to put the final touches on the school year, as well as to allow students to get caught up on any remaining assignments.  Next week, May 18-20, will be used for student checkout, including bringing back school-owned textbooks, iPads, and computers.  I have included the guidelines that we will use for next week’s checkout.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school. 


Kelly Messmer




 *Your time is according to your LAST NAME.

*Please stick to your designated time slot for return, as we are trying to limit the number of students in the building at one time.

*Please make sure you bring all of the school owned material including textbooks, computers, iPads, and any other school owned materials that you currently have back to school.  Also bring a backpack, sack, etc. with you to take home any belongings that you still have remaining at school, including anything in lockers.

*Please enter through the main doors of the school.  Please visit with Mr. Messmer and Mr. Ginsbach   in the commons area as we will give you directions on how to proceed from there.

*We thank all of you for your patience, understanding, and cooperation during the past couple of months.  You have all done a tremendous job of working with our teachers and staff to make the most out of this difficult situation.


Monday, May 18 8:00-10:00              Last Names Starting With A-B

Monday, May 18 10:30-12:30            Last Names Starting With C-D

Monday, May 18 1:00-3:00                Last Names Starting With F-G

Tuesday, May 19 8-10:00                    Last Names Starting With H-K

Tuesday, May 19 10:30-12:30            Last Names Starting With L

Tuesday, May 19 1:00-3:00                 Last Names Starting With M-P

Wednesday, May 20 8:00-10:00        Last Names Starting With R-S          

Wednesday, May 20 10:30-12:30      Last Names Starting With T-W

Harding County Be The Light

Statewide “Light Up The Night” in Harding County 

On March 30, 2020, Sioux Falls came together to light up the night. The purpose was to show support and appreciation for healthcare workers here and around the world; to spread hope to those who are sick during this pandemic; and to honor businesses that have closed their doors, people who have lost their jobs, and those who are struggling with mental health. The event was an overwhelming success.  The event has been replicated around the state to include graduating seniors as well as all students who have seen their senior year and school year abruptly end.

As a result, organizer Tony Erickson decided to take the event statewide. “These are trying times for everyone whether you’re a frontline worker, someone who is sick, a business owner that is hurting, or a person trying to work from home and help your children learn,” said Erickson. “But, as South Dakotans, we are strong, we are resilient, and we’re good at being there for one another.”

On or about the night of May 1st, residents, communities, schools, and businesses across the state are invited to go outside to “let it shine.”  The Harding County School District, Harding County Chamber of Commerce, Harding County Sheriff’s Department, Harding County Ambulance, and the fire departments from Buffalo, Camp Crook Ludlow, Reva, and Redig have all come together to make May 1st a night to remember.  Josh Page, Harding County Superintendent explains, “The affects the Coronavirus has had on everyone throughout the county, state, and nation is something none of us have ever seen before.  There are so many people that have been negatively affected by this terrible situation including individuals, students, businesses, and industries throughout the county.  It is important to give a shout out to everyone and let them know we appreciate everything they are doing as well as to let them know we are proud of all of them.”

The following are things that are planned for this Friday, May 1st

First and foremost, safety is encouraged!  This is not an invitation for people to gather in large groups as social distancing is a must.  We thank everyone for following these guidelines!

 *Harding County Sheriff’s Department, Harding County Ambulance Service, and area fire departments will parade through every street in Buffalo starting at 8:30.  Town residents are asked to come out of their houses and to show their support as the parade goes by their house by turning on yard lights, turning on flashlights, or putting up different house and yard lights.     

 *Harding County residents who live out of town are welcome to join the parade behind the emergency vehicles.  If they wish to join the parade, please line up at the rodeo arena/football field parking lot at 8:15.  You are also welcome to park by the rodeo arena/football or in the old gym parking lot if you would just like to watch the parade.  We ask that you stay in your cars and practice social distancing if you choose to watch the parade. 

*After the parade, please go to the Harding County School District Facebook Page or the Harding County School District webpage (hardingcounty.k12.sd.us) to watch various tribute videos put together by teachers, administrators, chamber members, health care providers, and first responders.  These videos will be posted at 9:30 pm on Friday.

We look forward to a wonderful event on May 1st!

Mission Statement

The mission of Harding County School’s faculty, staff, students, parents, and community is to provide a safe and challenging learning environment that enables all students to maximize achievement through a variety of educational experiences.

Vision Statement

Establishing a Foundation for Future Endeavors.

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Contact Us

12474 Tipperary Street
PO Box 367
Buffalo, South Dakota 57720

Phone:  (605) 375-3241
Fax:  (605) 375-3246


School Board

Jesse Glines, President
Will Meyer, Vice-President
Laura Johnson
Randy Routier
Carmen Gilbert

School Testing Windows

Smarter Balanced

  • Smarter Balanced Assessments are aligned to the Common Core Standards and provide a yearly check of progress in math and English language arts. Smarter Balanced provides feedback to help teachers and students succeed.
  • April 8-May 3
  • English Language Arts and Math
    • There are two subtests for each subject
    • Estimated total testing time: 6-7.5 hours, there is not a time limit for these tests and students receive multiple breaks
    • Overall schedule will be on the school calendar as it is finalized
  • Results are mailed with the final report cards at the end of the year
  • Required by the state

South Dakota Science Assessment

  • Grades 5, 8, and 11 participate in the South Dakota Science Assessment, which measures mastery in life, earth, and physical science.
  • April 10-30
  • Science
    • There are 3-50 minute testing sessions. There is not a time limit for the tests.
    • Overall schedule will be on the school calendar as it is finalized
  • Results are mailed after school starts in the fall. In the future we plan to mail results with the final report cards at the end of the year, if the results are reported at that time.
  • Required by the state

Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA)

  • The alternate assessments are for students with cognitive disabilities who use Core Content Connectors. They measure academic achievement.
  • March-May
  • English Language Arts and Mathematics
  • The length of time needed will vary for each individual who takes this test.
  • Results are mailed after they are reported in the fall.
  • Required by the state

South Dakota Science-Alternate Assessment

  • Students in grades 5, 8, and 11 who qualify to take alternate testing participate.
  • April 1-May 3
  • Science
  • The length of time needed will vary for each individual who takes this test.
  • Results are mailed after school starts in the fall.
  • Required by the state

National Career Readiness Certificate

  • The NCRC measures practical skills for workplace success in areas of workplace documents, graphic literacy, and applied mathematics.
  • This assessment takes approximately 3 hours.
  • It is given to seniors during the fall semester. This year it is scheduled for September 18th.
  • Students are able to know their results within a week, often the same day of testing. If earned, a copy of the certificate will be mailed home and the certificate will be presented to the student at awards day.
  • Harding County High School chooses to participate in the NCRC.


  • Three tests (reading, language usage, math) are given at the beginning, middle, and end of the year to give details about specific skill sets students possess. Students are able to easily compare the growth they make throughout the year. Teachers used this test data to design classroom instruction, interventions, and enrichment opportunities for each student.
  • This is a district wide assessment administered within the first 2 weeks of the school year and within the last 3 weeks each semester.
  • There isn’t a time limit, students are given breaks between sessions and test for a total of approximately 4-5 hours
  • Students are able to see their results immediately and teachers review them in class and often at parent teacher conferences.


  • https://www.asvabprogram.com/
  • This is the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, which allows students to look into many career fields.
  • Harding County High School requires Juniors take the ASVAB in the fall semester as well as any seniors who would like to retest for military purposes. This year it is scheduled for November 14. Students can test for up to 3 hours
  • Results will be mailed in the fall semester.

Home School Testing

  • This is required for home school students in grades 4, 8, and 11 to measure their academic achievement in math and English.
  • March 25-April 19, it is administered at home.
  • Results are mailed at the end of the school year.

National Assessment of Educational Progress

  • This is a national test, sometimes known as “the Nation’s Report Card.” Students in grades 4 and 8 take a test in a predetermined subject. No scores are given at a school level, as the purpose is to determine student achievement on a national level and track progress over time. Harding County School District is not part of the participating sample this year.


  • Post-secondary educational institutes require placement tests, but the ACT is not required by the Harding County School District or the state. It is offered at Harding County School twice a year (April and October test dates).

ACCESS and ACCESS Alt (for EL students)

  • ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is a secure large-scale English language proficiency assessment administered to Kindergarten through 12th grade students who have been identified as English language learners (ELLs). It is given annually in to monitor students’ progress in acquiring academic English. ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is aligned with the WIDA English Language Development Standards and assesses each of the four language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. The assessment is available in both paper-based and online formats for Grades 1-12, while Kindergarten and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs are paper-based tests.ACCESS 2.0: Jan. 28 – Feb.28, 2019
    ACCESS Alt: Jan. 28 – Feb.28, 2019